NEW YORK -- The NFL has awarded five new national grants through its Inspire Change social justice initiative to organizations focused on police and community relations.
The recipients were announced Thursday, and the league will highlight its commitment to social justice over the next two weeks, with each team participating in game-day stadium activations and awareness.
The five new national grant partners are: Atlanta Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative (PAD), Chicago's Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) Co-Responder Program, Choose 180, Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services Community Assistance and Life Liaison Program (CALL), and Peace for DC.
"Focusing on building police and community relations is where real change and impact will be created community by community," said former NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes, a players coalition advocate and executive task force member.
The NFL has provided more than $244 million to more than 40 national grant partners and more than 600 grassroots organizations across the country since 2017. The league is already approaching its 10-year, $250 million commitment to social justice efforts.
The five new national grant partners received a total of $950,000. They were recently approved by the Social Justice Working Group, comprising three active players, three former players and five team owners.
"It's awesome because everybody who sits in that room or everybody who has a seat at the table, we all have vested interest," Spikes said. "And that vested interest is making sure not only that the communities are being serviced the way that they're supposed to, because we understand that we all have seats in these communities, but more than anything, it's our way of being able to give back and do something that's going to be monumental by having diverse people at the table that come from different backgrounds, different ethnicities.
"But we have one common goal, and that is to make sure that people are treated properly and to provide resources."
The league this year also introduced the Inspire Change Changemaker Award, given to 32 individuals, one from each team, who are making a difference in their communities through social justice work, either individually or as part of a nonprofit organization.
Each Changemaker will be announced or recognized during Weeks 15 and 16 by their respective club.
"The significance is huge," Spikes said. "By being able to get this award implemented now, people across the nation will see that guys care about so much outside of the game and they're making their investment back into the game, into the community."
All 32 recipients will receive a $10,000 donation, courtesy of the NFL Foundation, to the social justice nonprofit organization of their choice.